Ian Boyd makes an intuitive point with this post.
While much of the discussion about the NCAA’s new transfer portal surrounds the blow struck for player agency, it’s likely there are other changes afoot. An easier transfer process is going to drive the evolution of the game like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, imbuing particular programs with new weapons.
The college game has already cycled through updates such as the hurry-up, no-huddle spread. The HUNH spread made the game simpler, allowing the offense to wait until the defense was set before checking into one of a few limited options.
One of the more stunning aspects of Clemson’s dominating win over Alabama was the role played by freshmen Trevor Lawrence and Justyn Ross. Lawrence hit Ross six times for 153 yards and a score on 10 targets.
But while they were both amazing high school talents, they still offer a takeaway for teams looking to plug any kind of talent into an offense. Modern spread attacks like Clemson’s make it easier to install new players, whether they’re freshmen or transfers.
Offenses that rely on schemes that are more challenging for new players to learn, like a certain one in Athens, need to face the reality that for every Jake Fromm who has the ability to grasp the basics as a true freshman, there are going to be Jacob Easons and Justin Fieldses who don’t. Those kids will have every incentive and, more importantly, plenty of opportunity to take their skills to another program that will find a way to unlock those sooner.
That doesn’t mean Georgia should give up the chase. Quite the contrary, it behooves Smart to grab all the elite quarterbacking talent he can. You never know whether a quarterback is ready until he’s had time in your program, and with the new transfer protocol, those who don’t measure up will move on to greener pastures, reopening roster spots at the position for the staff to fill.
There is something to be said for efficiency when your coaches are good at talent accumulation.